Today, I just feel like giving something to the forum that, as I have said before, has been a kind of online home for me for the past six or so years. I have noticed a number of posts recently that ask questions like: is anybody really making money here? That kind of thing. The reason for these threads is that right at the beginning, making money on the internet does seem to be remarkably difficult.
Do any of these apply to you?
1. There's so much hype floating round you don't know who to believe
2. You are sick of buying stuff you just can't seem to make work
3. Been scammed a few times and don't trust anyone anymore
If so, this little thread was written just for you.
So first off, I want to show you that I know what I am talking about. Today I made a post on my blog that shows my results for the last five months, so I have no problems showing you either
Here is what I am currently earning:
Now, you may think that's not a lot of money, but do you know something? It was enough for me to decide it was time to pack in my well-paid day job and concentrate on this project.
There are people making way more than this here at the forum, but there are also people who just can't seem to get going at all. It reminds me of when I used to play squash: no matter how good I got, there always seemed to be a shed-load of people better, but there were also a shed-load of people who were worse
Let me say a few things about those stats. Firstly, the bulk of that income is completely passive. Yes I know that's difficult to believe when you are new to all this stuff, but it's nevertheless true. Second, if I actually make an offer to my list, which I do very infrequently, then I get a month like the one you can see in June.
At present, my focus is on increasing my Adsense revenue and you can see from the above graph that this is happening nicely. I get a very low conversion rate, but I have managed to build a high-traffic site (3 million hits per month at present) and when you manage to do that, you really can't fail to make money.
How Long Did it Take?
Well, I started White Dove Books in 2003. At first I was not serious about making money. I just wanted to create a useful site for people who attended my personal development workshops. I did what everyone does – put up affiliate banners – and after one whole year, somebody bought something and I earned my first commission. It was $29 and that sale changed my whole attitude. I realised that if I could earn money as easily as that, there would be no reason that I could not just scale it up and clearly, there would be, theoretically, no upper limit to what I might earn.
I remember speaking to my wife about my decision to focus on the site. I said that I would need to put in a lot of work and so I would need her to be behind me. I was going to work for 2 hours every morning before going to work, then I was going to do another 2 hours every evening and in addition to that, I was going to work every Saturday on the site. By the way, at the time, I had no idea how I was going to make it all work; I was just determined to do so.
My wife's response was to ask me how long I thought it would take and do you know what my answer was? I said I thought it might take about 1 year at that rate. Well, here we are 6 years later and I have now only just quit the day job. Why did it take so long? Because I didn't know what I was doing at first. I simply tried everything to see what worked and what didn't. I kept all the good stuff and chucked away the things that didn't work.
So that's why it took so long, trial and error is not the most efficient route from A to B. However, it got me where I am. If you want to know the things I actually tried, see this thread ...
What Did I Do Well?
In a phrase – Viral Marketing!
When I started, I remember a guy called Yanik Silver. I was on his list and way, way back, he sent me an offer. It was essentially about viral marketing. At the time, I misunderstood the term, thought he was suggesting something fishy and ignored the offer – that bit was wrong!
However, I was inspired by fellow Brit, Harvey Segal. I just liked his style. He would often produce a great product and then just give it away. I realised that his free books were all over the internet and I thought there would be no reason that mine couldn't be all over the internet too. Today they are! And they bring me the following benefits:
1. Free traffic from links in the books
2. Free one-way links (when people publish the PDF)
3. Affiliates – they rebrand them and give them away
A second aspect of viral marketing is the good old Tell a Friend idea. I have it implemented all over my site and in my Newsletter. The way I do it is very simple and actually, I picked the tip up right here at the forum. As I recall, it was Dr Mani who posted the idea way back.
Just a quick aside. In case you don't know, Dr Mani is a successful Warrior and internet marketer who ploughs his profits into providing heart operations for underprivileged children. See here ...
Dr.Mani : About Dr.Mani - www.DrMani.com
What an absolutely wonderful mission.
He has problems, as I understand, with Paypal not allowing donations to his cause. He gets around this by selling information products and then using the profits to fund operations. The guy is an inspiration.
Anyway, the tip he posted was about using the 'mailto' facility. You create a hyperlink which, in turn, creates an email. You can control the subject and the text of that mail. So all a visitor has to do is click it, add their friend's email addie and bang!
Here is an excellent site (no affiliation) that allows you to create the link easily ...
Mailto URL Encoder - About Email
As I said, I use these links all over the place: in ebooks, in my navigation, in my Newsletters. They take up hardly any space and I am sure that they have helped get the word out about my site.
Can you see the power of an ebook that is free, has give away or resale rights and contains a Tell a Friend link to your download page so that others can download it too? There you go – one of my secrets for free
The Anatomy of a Successful Viral Marketing Campaign
When I bought Thomas Belknap's WSO for a PDF compiler program he had written, at first I thought it might be a nice little addition to my product range. But then I started thinking to myself that there were free PDF compilers available on the web and, sure, I would certainly be able to sell a few of these programs, but I did not think the product would set the world alight. That's not to say it was not a good product – it was actually first-class – just my assessment of how much I thought I might sell.
So instead of selling the software, I thought I would launch a viral marketing campaign. I researched Google and nobody was using the name eWriterPro as far as I could establish and that was the name I chose for my version of the program that Thomas created for me. Today, if you search for eWriterPro, you will find several hundred thousand results and there are many more actual users of the software of course – that is the result of a successful campaign.
How did I do it? Simple. I first cleared the territory with Thomas. I wanted to make sure that what I was going to do was ok with him. As it turned out, he was all for it. Then I wrote a manual for the product, bundled it with my version of the software and ran a free WSO. People were amazed that they were getting such a great piece of software for free and not only that, it came with Master Resale Rights.
One of the moderators here at the forum had great success selling the software to his list. Some of those that bought it immediately began selling it on eBay and what do you know, the viral effect started. Within a few weeks both the mod and Thomas contacted me to tell me about the success they were enjoying. Thomas had a banner ad in the splash screen and he was getting a lot of sales as a result. The mod posted about how he had found gold, for free, in the WSO section. I was delighted for them both.
So how did all of this benefit me? Well, the software had a facility for me to control the advertising area. All I did was put a few affiliate links in there and a registration form. The result? I built a list of several thousand people (still growing – difficult to stop a viral effect once it has started) with very little effort. Of course, that list receives my special offers and a percentage of them purchase. This campaign took me as long as writing the book and running the WSO, absolutely no extra effort at all – about 3 or 4 hours I would say.
I hope that makes you think.
By the way Thomas, if you read this, I have several thousand people who would just love a version of Tiger Viral eWriter for Windows 7. You are a busy man, but you know it makes sense
If there is one principle that I have tried to apply constantly it is the win-win idea (Stephen Covey, habit #4, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
You recall that both the forum mod and Thomas were both delighted at the results of the EWP campaign. Indeed, this one experience changed Thomas's strategy for marketing his other software products. Well that is all a part of why the EWP campaign worked. It was not just a win for me – it represented a win for the others involved.
When you can come up with ideas that benefit not only yourself, but also benefit other people, do you think they are more likely to get committed to your project? You betcha!
Sometimes when I contact other marketers to suggest a win-win proposal, they seem to completely miss the opportunity. It may be my fault because I don't like hype and I don't hype my approaches. I simply tell people what I have in mind and how it will work. I think that sometimes, people have seen so much hype in the past that they are unable to recognise a genuine opportunity when it comes along.
But I have worked with some great people here at the forum and I plan to work with many others in the future too. This forum is genuinely a terrific place to network and I really can't thank my fellow Warriors enough for their help and encouragement over the years.
I guess I have rambled on for long enough now. I hope that, if you are still struggling to make your first dime, that you will take encouragement from this post. Sometimes, we just need to know that it can be done, that it is possible – sometimes, that is all we need to know. Well, I hope I have been able to assure you that it is indeed possible. None of this is rocket science. You can do it too!
Now what win-win ideas do you think you can come up with?